UPDATE: According to Susan Cover, “Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Richardson will hold an 11 a.m. press conference today in the Morrel Room of Curtis Memorial Library 23 Pleasant St. Brunswick, according to his spokeswoman.”
While no official word came from the campaign about what the announcement is for, I think it is quite clear.
This afternoon I am getting word that John Richardson is planning to call a news conference tomorrow morning, with the intention of announcing that he is quitting the race for Governor of Maine. With no funding after being denied clean election funds by the ethics commission and essentially no hope of being able to raise the private donations he will need, Richardson will be bowing out it seems. I know I personally am very interested to hear the spin from Richardson on this situation.
This is still tentative, and details on this announcement may change – but this is the plan according to a source close to Richardson as of now.
I am also hearing that at least one person who is connected to the campaign will be facing criminal charges for submitting fraudulent checks to the state. This person is not John Richardson however, backing up the reporting I did yesterday that he was apparently (as far as the AG’s office could tell) not directing any of this fraud.
I am told that several people in the Richardson inner circle are pointing fingers at friends of Steve Rowe within the AG’s office for leaking this story out. I can only speak for myself by saying that the sources I received the information from (all be told, I am talking about half a dozen separate people here) were not Rowe loyalists. The original “leak” I received that lead to me chasing down this story was not from anyone connected to the Rowe campaign either – so at least on the surface, these people’s fears would appear to be unfounded.
This entire episode should provide for a much needed opportunity to have a public conversation about the clean elections system in the state of Maine – specifically the method checks are collected with and the practice of using blank $5 money orders that clean candidates carry with them and give to people in return for $5 in cash. Pine Tree Politics will be working on a much larger piece on the system itself for publication in the near future.